I was recently reminded that you don’t have to be a far right Christian or radical Muslim to behave in a manner that can only be described as Fundamentalist. Turns out that cartoonists are quite capable of it as well. I didn’t get much in the way of new entries posted on SEB yesterday because I spent a good chunk of the day writing responses to a comment I had left earlier in this thread on the ToonTalk message forums. Later when I got email notifications that others had responded I went back to see what they had to say only to find that the folks who responded opted to drop all pretense of a discussion and go straight into personal attacks and insults, one of which was enough to draw a warning from the moderators (though very tame by SEB standards).
What started all this was an entry I posted back in August about the nasty reaction to Scott Kurtz’s announcement that he was going to give his webcomic PVP Online to any newspaper that wanted to run it free of charge. My entry wasn’t an argument in defense of Scott’s plan or why I thought it might work, but a commentary on the venom being spewed in his direction as a result of that plan. Nor did I make any claims to being a comic authority of any kind or having a clue how the industry works.
The entry garnered a few replies from the regulars and then sat there unnoticed for months until one of the cartoonists I had mentioned in it, Bob Burnette, happened to stumble upon it. He started a thread titled Be careful what you say…. on the Toon Talk forums which linked back to my entry and I noticed a spike in referrer traffic to it and it started to get comments from at least one TT regular so I hopped over to see what was being said. Burnette’s post was innocuous enough, but some of the replies to it suggested that I wrote the entry at Scott’s encouragement, which isn’t true, and this prompted me to register an account and leave a clarification of my own that addressed several of the points raised. Over the next few days my reply received its own comments and I went back to elaborate further. It had been several days at this point and there was a lot I wanted to cover so I left several responses one of which was particularly lengthy as is often the case when I’m trying to make sure I’m understood. I know I can be long-winded and I make no apologies for that.
Well, as you can see for yourself if you visit the thread, the immediate responses to my attempts at an honest discussion were quite a bit like many of the responses in the thread about Scott’s announcement. Members “Rodmck” and “mysteriousjohnny” opted to go with insults and personal attacks rather than address the points I had raised and I decided it just wasn’t worth taking any further. Rodmck in particular has the Fundamentalist style of “debate” down pat and if he ever loses his job as an illustrator because off the sudden rush of people willing to work for free he seems to be so worried about having happen if Scott goes through with his plan, well, let’s just say Rodmck will have a fine and profitable future as a Southern Baptist Televangelist ahead of him as his oratory skills are already more than adequate for the job. I left one last comment with a small dig at Rodmck to see if he’d respond as I thought he would wherein I suggested that whatever he’s paid is probably more than he’s really worth and he was more than happy to swallow the bait:
Hmmn, Lesley, average and overpaid, eh? On a public forum? Where potential and current employers (that’s my employers who pay me) may well be looking in. Take a look at my work and say it again. Publicly. I suggest you choose your words more wisely in future. At your age, you should know better. (at this stage I’d list all the publications that have ‘overpaid’ me, in Les’s expert opinion as a cartoon genius, but there isn’t enough room. I eagerly await his next post, which I trust will be forthcoming).
It’s a good thing I wasn’t drinking milk or I would have snorted it out my nose with the laugh the above generated. I was particularly amused with his use of my full first name (correctly spelled no less) after he made of point of not spelling “Les” correctly in his previous replies. For simple and unfettered puerility, it’s hard to top this guy. I’m afraid he’s going to be disappointed if he really hopes that I’ll be responding further as I was serious that there was no point in bothering. The points I raised were largely ignored, though “mysteriousjohnny” did address the cartoonists-are-like-plumbers analogy he first proposed before devolving into statements like the following:
By the way if you’d like my detailed views on the IT industry I have many learned opinions from my position as a professional cartoonist.
For a start I think you guys should stop wearing such thick glasses and drinking so much Coke. Also, consider cutting back on the plaid shirts and pants that are too short.
Oh yeah, no more pen protectors in you front breast pocket.
I get the impression he was trying to be funny and, if that’s the case, I hope he does a better job with his comic strip than he did with the above. He was nowhere near as Fundamentalist in his approach as Rodmck so I don’t think he can fall back on a career in the clergy if he doesn’t improve the quality of his humor a tad.
As far as I’m aware I haven’t been exposed to whatever work these two fine representatives of the comic industry have done so I really don’t have an opinion on its quality one way or the other, but then as I mentioned in that thread I’m not a big consumer of comic strips in the first place. The only syndicated strip that I go out of my way every single day to read anymore is Foxtrot and I read it online because I don’t subscribe to the paper. You’ll note that on my wishlist I have various Foxtrot collections along with the few Calvin and Hobbes books I don’t already have. The reason I don’t read more is I think 95% of them aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. Most just are not that funny and too many are just insipid. Yeah, I’m picky. So when I say I like something that means it’s pretty damn good in my view, but then that’s just my view and I’ve never claimed otherwise. But if Rodmck and mysteriousjohnny are representative of the attitudes of cartoonists in general then I have a new insight into why I think most of the stuff out there sucks so hard.
Perhaps they would have done well to take Bob Burnette’s suggestion to heart. They’ve certainly done nothing in that thread to earn them any respect on my behalf.